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Asake is Mr Money with the vibe in 2022 | @asakemusik

Asake on stage taken by mediakid_

This is Asake’s year. Omo ope, the first single by Asake in 2022, was streamed more times than everything else he had previously worked on COMBINED! and that’s perhaps the best way to convey the impact of a song that took him from fringe upcomer to regular chart topper in less than 3 months.

Asake released his debut EP barely 3 weeks after the monster hit. It’s no surprise that he wasted no time in consolidating his position, a long time underground artist only just getting his day in the sun, he is eager to gain a place among Nigeria’s elite. 

His newfound success, however, is not completely down to his hard graft and unique sound. A partnership with Olamide, one of Nigeria’s biggest rappers/singers, and a pioneer of “streets music” as we know it today, has literally changed his life. This is not to discredit his endeavour though, as a look at his portfolio reveals many years of consistent effort and a commitment to a certain style that has set him apart from the carousel of upcoming artistes emerging from the Nigerian music scene. And where most emerging acts tend to be more vocally-involved, higher-pitched slower jams, Asake is distinct in his sonic fashion, displaying a unique love for choir-like back-up singers, childish synth sounds and big drums that will rock a Lagos party. It’s obvious from the first listen, he wants you to dance.

One of his more popular previous singles, Mr. Money, released under the cloud of the pandemic, foreshadowed musical elements he would later refine in 2022. Asake’s big break was not to come until nearly 2 years later when ‘Omo Ope’, which translates as ‘child of grace’, was released and proved true to that phrase, for only a child of grace could have achieved such a rapid rise in so little time.

Many eyebrows were raised when Olamide, out of the blue announced a collaboration with a little known musician (he didn’t even have a wikipedia), but they were soon to fall back down as the song quickly became a national hit, and, as the song was being played anywhere from throbbing parties to semi-religious gatherings, it was little surprise that Olamide immediately snapped him up to join his record label, YBNL. 

It’s been smooth sailing for the exuberant singer since then, as he has gone on to cram a successful EP and 5 more chart topping songs into a half-year. Sungba went on to light the charts on fire, remaining in the top 10 of Apple music Nigerian charts for weeks on end. Assisted by a Burna Boy remix, and a subsequent invasion into foreign markets, Asake secured a place on the Billboard Afrobeats top 50. Never one to rest on his oars, ‘Palazzo’ (with DJ Spinall), ‘Peace Be Unto You’ and most recently, ‘Terminator’ have been unveiled in an attempt to strike while the iron is still hot, as Asake tries to quickly establish himself within the ranks of the biggest Nigerian songsters.

And as the budding superstar prepares for a debut album and hopefully, a larger international presence in the final third of the year, his greatest challenge will be to stretch the boundaries of his sound without straying too far from the sub-genre he has created and maintained. There is a lot of attention on him at the moment, and with it comes a closer scrutiny and tighter margins for error. And as talk begins to gather of a certain repetitiveness to his music, it is left to Asake to prove himself once more, and dispel the doubts over his longevity and uniqueness. 

Words by Ezema Patrick

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